To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Expand Your Abilities & Grow Your Practice with Asian Bodywork,” by Deb Davies, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, in the September 2011 issue. Article summary: Incorporating Asian massage modalities into your practice will give you a more rounded approach to client concerns. Instead of addressing one problem, for example, you can determine what pattern of disharmony may be at the root of that problem. This article looks at acupressure, shiatsu, chi nei tsang, Thai massage and tui na, and at how these Asian massage modalities can help your clients—and your practice.

by Lewis Harrison

Life is chi. Fully actualized chi is actualized human potential. Any blockage to fully expressed human potential is a blockage of chi. When this takes place, rebalancing of chi is required.

In China, do-in therapy, acupuncture, tai chi and qi gong exercises may be used therapeutically to either produce more, circulate, regulate or calm the chi energy.

Chi is that part of us that exists prior to, through and around all the other mental, emotional and anatomical systems. It underlies and supports the nervous and circulatory systems. Also known as ki, prana and qi, chi is the source of all healing, and it can be addressed through touch, visualization, homeopathic remedies, the inserting of needles into specific points, special herbs, prayer, inhaling aromatic oil, color therapy, creating and experiencing arts, and pressing on specific reflexes on the body.

Energetic healing does not require hands-on contact. It works on a vibrational or energetic level, as opposed to a structural level, such as is found in some forms of massage and bodywork. The purpose of all chi balancing is to release the body’s own self-healing energy wherever it may be blocked.

Within all energetic and vibrational healing there is a process of balancing antagonistic-complementary forces. When the circulation of chi is blocked or even lost, there is a disturbance of its flow to and from the organs. The result of this chi imbalance or depletion is physical and emotional imbalance. If the condition is extreme enough various symptoms of illness may appear. One may regain a balance of chi by absorbing external factors, such as food, music, herbal medicine, aromatic oils, oxygen, light, sound, thoughts and vibrations, and transforming these into prana or chi energy.

As you develop your inner healing chi, you will recognize all healing comes out of a balance between the two cycles: motion and rest. The emotional extremes of an individual with a chi imbalance can be corrected with chi balancing tools like feng shui , meditation, reiki, polarity therapy, pranic breathing, chakra balancing and many other approaches. These can create a natural alternating between expansion and contractile forces. This will ultimately create a balanced rhythmic sequence—a healthy expansion and contraction that can cleanse internal and energetic toxins from the chi pathways that lie within us, including the meridians and the chakras, or energy centers.

Lewis Harrison is a pioneer in the natural healing and massage profession and the author of nine books. He is the director of the Academy of Natural Healing (, a classroom and distance-learning educational center offering more than 160 classes on healing. Harrison also owns the Spa of the Mind Retreat Center.